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The Rains of Castamere
July 19, 2013 8:41 AM   Subscribe

A while back folk duo Paul and Storm created a song 'Write Like The Wind' urging G R R Martin to finish A Song Of Ice & Fire aka Game Of Thrones as soon as possible. During a recent live performance of said song the duo experienced an interruption. MLYT (previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (106 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
About as unscripted as the WWF bouts, but very very funny. The drummer sure freaked.
posted by sammyo at 8:55 AM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Just FYI, because I watched with a certain trepidation: The song is spoiler-free, even for those who haven't watched any of the show or ready any books.
posted by sparklemotion at 8:58 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is prominently linked in the "previous" link fearfulsymmetry posted but for lazy folks wondering what author Neil Gaiman was doing there it's a humorous reference to this blog post.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:13 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hah! Also kudos to mefite clvrmnky for predicting something like this.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:18 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The shocking part of that video to me was seeing Paul and Storm playing with a drummer.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:32 AM on July 19, 2013


Needs more crossbows.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm never a fan of the destruction of music instruments. Especially for lulz.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:41 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am always in favour of crossbows.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm never a fan of the destruction of music instruments.

People try to p-p-p-put us down...
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:47 AM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm never a fan of the destruction of music instruments. Especially for lulz.

Sorry
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:50 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked that, he must get so fed up with people asking when the next book is out.
posted by arcticseal at 10:01 AM on July 19, 2013


GRRM may not be their bitch, but he is, like all of us, the bitch of time.

I'd say "stop fanning around and write the damn books," but I suspect that he's actually planning on dying before finishing the series, just to really drive home a bunch of themes.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:10 AM on July 19, 2013 [42 favorites]


He's actually Jon Snow's mum.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obvious theater, but so what? Pretty funny, thanks.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 10:17 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd say "stop fanning around and write the damn books,but I suspect that he's actually planning on dying before finishing the series,"

We need to keep Brandon Sanderson busy for the next few years.

I'm okay with GRRM doing other things. He has edited some short story books, for example, on ERB-style Mars and Venus stories. I have pre-ordered them.
posted by Mezentian at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am entirely against this sort of thing from GRRM. He should not have left his writing desk for this. Or anything else, for that matter. Write like the wind!
posted by bluejayway at 10:23 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


They should just get Benioff and Weiss to finish it off... they can't do a worse job than Martin did on books 4 and 5... Dracarys BUUURNN!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:27 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


YCTaB,
No. Please go read Neil Gaiman's response linked by Wretch729. Seriously. And take your entitled opinions out and shoot them as they deserve, without fanfare or regret.

I mean, sure, if you actually have a signed contract in hand and you yourself are paying GRRM his advance to write the next book, you can be impatient and huffy over his lack of fulfilling your agreed to contractual obligation. But otherwise, that just sounds like the most bullshit and lazy excuse from someone who supposedly appreciates an artists work. You know what you should be doing instead? Dream up what happens next on your own. You know, exercise that old imagination of yours, and see if you can come up with a better story, or maybe take one of your favorite lesser fleshed out characters and imagine a side story for them, with all the detail and advetures and intrigue that you've read going on with the other main plot protaganists. That would be a better use of time and energy than adding to the childish, petulant, whinging assholes who believe that they somehow have any say in what an artist or writer or filmmaker or musician should be doing with their time.

If I could take away your toys, I would and send you to your room.
posted by daq at 10:28 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


They will be finished. By him or by someone else. They won't fuck up all this money rolling in.

Maybe Gaiman should finish them. They can all move to the land of faerie and have neat adventures and capture the moon and stuff like that.

Actually, that's a pretty good ending.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:33 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


daq: "But otherwise, that just sounds like the most bullshit and lazy excuse from someone who supposedly appreciates an artists work. "

I appreciated his work. Then I read Feast for Crows. If I can't suggest he write more or faster, can I at least suggest he attend a writer's workshop?

daq: "You know, exercise that old imagination of yours, and see if you can come up with a better story, or maybe take one of your favorite lesser fleshed out characters and imagine a side story for them"

Do you want more 50 Shade books? Because that's how you get them.
posted by boo_radley at 10:38 AM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I got it. Jon Snow's mom is a Faerie queens. Jon Snow takes the iron throne and through faerie magic turns Westeros into Neverewhere. Then Shakespere shows up and they all watch the first performance of Romeo and Julliete and dance in the moonlight. The end.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2013


I thought it ends like this.
posted by shelleycat at 10:42 AM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


daq, I agree with what you're saying, sure. But just look at this:

A Game of Thrones (1996)
A Clash of Kings (1998)
A Storm of Swords (2000)
A Feast for Crows (2005)
A Dance with Dragons (2011)
The Winds of Winter (????)
A Dream of Spring (????)

Someone who started on this journey in 1996 (or 1998, or 2000), and waited 5 years to get to volume 4, only to find out that it had actually been split into two parts, and then waited 6 more years to get to volume 4b - you must have a teeny tiny bit of sympathy for their frustration?

(I must say, Gaiman finishing the series would be something intriguing ...)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:43 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Then I read Feast for Crows. If I can't suggest he write more or faster, can I at least suggest he attend a writer's workshop?

We must have words. Possibly over lamprey pie.

Stern words. AFFC gets bad press, but the man is awesome, and he doesn't need a writer's workshop. I still have faith that a lot of the "padding" in AFFC will have a payoff.

I will now start throwing copies of Tuf Voyaging at you. I will stop when the number of "ows" you utter catches up with the number of deaths in ASOIAF.

This could take some time.
posted by Mezentian at 10:43 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I must say, Gaiman finishing the series would be something intriguing ...)

Or crap.
Probably that. I like Gaiman as a writer, but I don't think he's got the vibe to finish ASOIAF.
Plus, he has more Doctor Who that needs writin', and a Good Omens TV show. And that Sandman movie that is apparently getting made.
posted by Mezentian at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2013


Makes me think GRRM is pretty shy -- like he said something to the effect of "Sure, I'll do the stage appearance, but only if someone else does all the talking!"
posted by jiawen at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mezentian: "I will now start throwing copies of Tuf Voyaging at you. I will stop when the number of "ows" you utter catches up with the number of deaths in ASOIAF."

Feh. Add in some Fevre Dream, buy me dinner and we'll call it a date.
posted by boo_radley at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2013


And that Sandman movie that is apparently getting made.

NO. STOP. IF WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT THEN MAYBE IT WON'T HAPPEN.
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 AM on July 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Feh. Add in some Fevre Dream, buy me dinner and we'll call it a date.

If Fevre Dream hasn't been optioned for a mini-series (do they still make those? Under The Dome has me confused) someone in Hollywood needs to be shot.
posted by Mezentian at 10:56 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


>> (I must say, Gaiman finishing the series would be something intriguing ...)
> Or crap.
> Probably that. I like Gaiman as a writer, but I don't think he's got the vibe to finish ASOIAF.


I said intriguing, not necessarily good... :)

I loved Neverwhere and Stardust, but I'm not sure how that style would work with A Dream of Spring.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:59 AM on July 19, 2013


NO. STOP. IF WE DON'T TALK ABOUT IT THEN MAYBE IT WON'T HAPPEN.

With Terry Gilliam directing?

(All the things must be monetised, cross-platform, to hit all the quadrants.)
posted by Mezentian at 10:59 AM on July 19, 2013


Plus, he has more Doctor Who that needs writin'

I hope not. His episodes were awful so kudos for fitting right into the overall shitness of the show's writing, the man is talented enough to produce garbage at a level I didn't think was possible from a good writer. I guess that counts for something, but I'd rather see a good writer write good scripts for an awful show then just fit in to it.
posted by juiceCake at 11:05 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Stephen King. Could probably knock it out in a week and throw in a couple tie ins just for fun.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:06 AM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


(I actually think American Gods is perfect for a TV exploration of the concept, Good Omens tho? I----didn't we do this already?)
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just popping in to mention Pratchett. There's a writer who can churn out great books.
posted by Pendragon at 11:08 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, not sure why you're reading me the riot act, daq.

So the main reason I'm unnerved about GRRM's fanning around is that I was 100% into the series... until I got to that note to the fans at the end of the fourth book, the one where he promises to give everyone new chapters from the viewpoints of their favorite characters. The reason it bothered me wasn't because I was sad that I wouldn't get to see Tyrion and Daenerys and whoever until the next book came out, because, well, the fifth book had been out for a good long while before I even started the series. It was because the note made it briefly seem like GRRM didn't really know what he had on his hands with this series. Until that point — as an aside, I avoid fandom like the plague, and I didn't know GRRM was as wrapped up in it as he is — until that point, I had assumed that he knew he was writing a series about how individuals can't help but to get wrapped up in broader sociological forces (and, well, broader climatological forces), about how all their scheming gets subsumed by/into things that are bigger than them in ways that they could never hope to control or predict. Basically, that his competition is less people like Robert Jordan, and more people like Tolstoy. But for a second after that note, I thought, oh, christ, he really is writing this series for the people who think it's about dragons and zombies and big wolves and magic crows and how clever Tyrion is and ooh I hope he doesn't kill my favorite character, and all that really fun material where (for example) Littlefinger's career stands as a synecdoche for the rise of the bourgeoisie is just accidental.

I got over it. His publishers made him write the dumb note. It's fine. He's a smart guy. I'm midway through the fifth book now, and enjoying it.

I'm not being sarcastic or snarky or whatever when I say maybe he's actually planning on dying before finishing the books, just to drive home a lot of themes. As far as the quality of the series as an insightful commentary on the world goes, a sudden, unexplained, unresolved STOP, Chaucer-style, might actually be the best solution, certainly better than any solution that would satisfy fandom.

Of course, I'm that guy who likes Infinite Jest a ton and can't stop talking about it (I think they clone us, in vats). So, I do recognize that my tastes aren't the end-all, be-all either.

You know what I wanna know? How come he hasn't given us a sequel to Sandkings, huh? Where does he get off?!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:12 AM on July 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


My honest opinion is they handled the series wrong. Tell the main story in the main series and write spin off series for all the people that really really want to know about the Maester school and shit like that. They could have had 10 books just of Arya Stark adventures. No need to cram all that stuff in one giant series.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:21 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, but the reason he's not doing that is that he's writing a society, not individual characters. The mysteries I'm interested about aren't, like, "who's Jon Snow's mom," it's stuff like why has this weird planet (or is it a planet?) been stuck in a quasi-medieval pattern for (by all accounts) an amount of time vastly longer than the span of recorded human history on Earth? Is it because the unpredictability of the seasons, and the occasional very long winters, stomps everyone back into feudalism over and over again? If so, how does that idea interact with the way that the seasons seem to at least partially stand as a metaphor for economic cycles under contemporary capitalism?

So, yeah, count me as someone who's glad he didn't write The Arya Stark Adventures.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:35 AM on July 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


The thing is that he is writing for you alone, but also fans that want every detail explored and chapter after chapter of their favorite character. I think that is what is holding him up. There is no way he can satisfy everyone and I think it paralyzed him.

He doesn't have to cut Arya stark, but leave some of her travels out for now and write them out of order, we don't need to know everything she ever did, in order, to make her a compelling character. Once everything is done it can be taken as a whole.

It would satisfy you and people who just like wolves I bet.

Stephen King is still doing Gunslinger books even though the main story is finished.

Personally I wanted more about Arya's dancing master, and a few other characters.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:47 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


That comment by You Can't Tip a Buick is the first thing I've ever read or been told that has made me want to actually read A Song of Fire and Ice. The way it's been sold to me before was that it was basically fantasy with more death and incest, which isn't something that particularly appeals to me. Fantasy that deals with the effects of sociohistorical forces on a wide range of individuals, now that sounds interesting to me.

Though I'm not wavering from my "wait until a series is over before getting into it" stance. Lost taught me a valuable lesson* that I'm doing my best not to unlearn, that part of the appeal of serial fiction is that it makes promises that the story it sets in motion will be resolved in a satisfying fashion, and if it doesn't the promises are tarnished retroactively.


* I wrote "lession" at first, and Lost's lesson was certainly also a lesion. Lost's 3rd series and Orson Scott Card's Xenocide are perfect examples of how sequels can travel back in time and damage previously enjoyed works of narrative.

posted by Kattullus at 11:52 AM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The mysteries I'm interested about aren't, like, "who's Jon Snow's mom," it's stuff like why has this weird planet (or is it a planet?) been stuck in a quasi-medieval pattern for (by all accounts) an amount of time vastly longer than the span of recorded human history on Earth

Thats exactly what I'm saying. That is what should be in the main series. Not chaper after chapter of what types of shellfish prostitutes like to eat.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that books 4 and 5 were actually both pretty good. That said, Brienne's storyline in AFFC could stand to be pared back (I like the character, but it seemed like he was stretching that particular narrative pretty thin there), and Dany's storyline in ADWD as well (perhaps I'm not a big fan of Essos politics -- if we get bogged down in the fight for Pentos in the next two books, I might have a hard time of it).

Remember: Every time you ask George RR Martin when the next book will come out, he kills a Stark.
posted by dhens at 11:54 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


YCTaB,
Sorry, I targeted you because you were the first one to parrot the main main sentiment that Neil Gaiman was responding to in the linked blog post.

[insert author/creator/musician/filmmaker/etc here] is not your bitch.

That's the rude way of saying it, but it is specifically pointed towards people who _do_ complain about a creator, as if just by reading and enjoying a work, they are entitled to FORCE the author to bend to their will and perform as their dancing monkey for their entertainment. This is not how it works, and as a hopefully competent adult, you should know this.

I mean, I know to a degree you are posting in general snark and trying to make a light joke on the subject. However, it still rankles me when people, who are not creators themselves (at least who do not advertise themselves as such, nor act as a part of the fraternity of creatordom*), complain about some creator 'not doing it right', or whatever. I always have one response. If you don't like it, do it better (i.e. your 'right way' or whatever) or STFU and sit down.

Now, I know someone is going to say "yeah, but it's just my opinion, and everyone's opinion is valid" or some such tripe. No. Your simple opinion is just that. Simple, and yours. If you decide to share it, prepare to have it evaluated and, more than likely eviscerated. Also, the phrase is (or really, really, really should be) "your INFORMED opinion is valid", as coined or paraphrased (I'm too lazy to look it up) by Harlan Ellison.

As to boo_radleys point, about more 50 Shades? YES. I WANT MORE CONTENT. I WANT MORE CREATORS. I don't care if it's sub-par, drivel or whatever. I want more of it, to fill the empty vacuousness of our society. Do you want to know why? Because the more people write and make their efforts publicly available, them more people can read and evaluate and criticize and mock and help those creators hone their writing and story-telling into better and better content. Sure, it will create a whole lot of horrible and awful dreck, but it is still the act of creation, the exercising of mental abilities and god knows we need more of that. Less passive consumerism, more active creation. The act of creation is the main purpose of all life. It is coded into the DNA of the bacteria colonies that make up our strange and wonderful bodies. It is coded into the behavioral patterns of every sexually reproductively driven creature on this planet. Consume, process, reproduce. Art is just the next level of it. The creation of ideas. The crafting of ideas and the exploration of the imagination.

It also creates jobs for all those English Lit majors who are currently working in some other field that they hate. So, you know, economic stimulus to boot.

/end crazy person rant

*I have always believed that there is a strange camaraderie shared by people who have actively created some form of art, which often goes unspoken, but is still a badge of honor that is invisibly bestowed on those who actually attempt to reach out and touch other peoples minds through the creation of artistic works. And I am always happy to meet more and more people who do this kind of thing, either professionally or as a hobby, because it is a form of information exchange that goes beyond simple day to day interactions. Many times it also incorporates an emotional context that many people take for granted, but which good creators are either naturally adept at or have spent their lives studying and learning how to create an emotional connection with those who read/listen/watch/see their works.
posted by daq at 11:56 AM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The mysteries I'm interested about aren't, like, "who's Jon Snow's mom," it's stuff like why has this weird planet (or is it a planet?) been stuck in a quasi-medieval pattern for (by all accounts) an amount of time vastly longer than the span of recorded human history on Earth

This is hinted at in the final chapter of AFFC (regarding the Citadel and the Order of Maesters), and perhaps also in Bran's storyline. I am curious where that particular thread will lead.

I am interested in who Jon Snow's mom is. I assume Howland Reed will be making an appearance before the end of the series.
posted by dhens at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pendragon"Just popping in to mention Pratchett. There's a writer who can churn out great books."

I was discussing this with one of his co-authors a while back. Basically, once they reach a certain level of fame/financial success most authors with an ongoing series start to write books that are twice as long and half the quality of their earlier output. Their publishers let them get away with it because even an overlong, wooly book by J K Rowling or George R R Martin is going to be a success. Hell, Anne Rice has even gloated about it, saying she's finally reached a point in her career where she can get away with not having an editor. So with one thing and another I was very curious as to how Pratchett's publishers had kept him in check.

The answer is basically that they don't. Pratchett started out as a newspaper journalist and consequently has a strong respect for things like staying within a suitable wordcount and meeting deadlines.

The co-author did say, however, that they were able to get away with making changes and improvements to the text right up to the eleventh hour, which would never normally fly, so it's not that they don't let him get away with stuff, it's just not the stuff you'd expect.

That he's kept so close to his former schedule and quality after getting ill is all the more impressive. I'm going to be very sad when he eventually calls it quits.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's also an economic aspect - book publishing has two extreme ends, you can make money on a 400 page paperback OR a thousand page monster - apparently the costs in the middle tend to push things to ends of it, or so I've been told.
posted by The Whelk at 11:59 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dunno, I'm all for world building but I want him to wrap it up at this point.He is still adding new concepts at this late date.

I think Joe Abercrombie took the right track. Finish the series and write more stories about everyone's favorite characters in different books.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:06 PM on July 19, 2013


> Lost's 3rd series and Orson Scott Card's Xenocide are perfect examples of how sequels can travel back in time and damage previously enjoyed works of narrative.

Don't forget Hannibal. I was so eager for that book—I loved The Silence of the Lambs—and by the end I was absolutely furious and could only keep repeating "Fuck you, Thomas Harris! Fuck you!" He shat on his characters and his fans and I hope there's a hell just so he can burn in it.

I have no opinion on GRRM or the TV series, but I had to get that off my chest.
posted by languagehat at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


It was perfectly apparent to me who Jon Snow's mother is by the end of vol. 2 or 3-- it's been so long I forget which.

Who Jon Snow is, as well.

Out of respect for my fellow readers, if not GRRM himself, I will say no more.
posted by jamjam at 12:12 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I write for a fanfic group, and we all nodded at the 'is not your bitch' thing when it came out. We have our own fans, and they get crazily entitled, wondering when will the newest story in our melded-media universe come out, why is this late, have you guys just given up, hey the last story was shit, why should we join the forums to read the small stories you guys post there (forums are world-readable, you just need to sign up to comment).

We even had a guy write us something akin to an essay about why he felt it was wrong for us to have two women who had been dating for a while finally have sex. (Off-screen, yeah, but they did it and it was clear they had.) Talking about our 'crypto-lesbian subtext'. Then he scampered off and never replied to any of the rebuttals that other people wrote. (One of the ladies mentioned above later, in college, took some courses in cryptology, thus using the concept as a joke.)

But sometimes the fans are crazy. (Our editor-in-chief has had some... strange offers.)
posted by mephron at 12:14 PM on July 19, 2013


Hodor.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


daq: I have always believed that there is a strange camaraderie shared by people who have actively created some form of art

There is, but there are also drunken stabbings over something someone said at a party twenty years ago. Oh, and vicious, vicous slander. There's a reason why the collective noun for writers is a gossip of authors.
posted by Kattullus at 12:20 PM on July 19, 2013


Okay, now I have to ask-- assuming you're comfortable with divulging-- What fanfic group? Because I love that kind of shit, oh yes. (There is SO MUCH good fanfic out there, the kind of thing that surpasses the source material in a lot of ways, and I love it without un-apologetically.)
posted by dogheart at 12:22 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Abercrombie would be a good choice. Although if it were up to me I'd go for something probably completely impracticable and ask different famous writers to separately adopt the POV characters, marshalled by someone acting like the literary version of a show-runner.

Like, Ursula LeGuin for Arya Stark. Susan Cooper for Bran. Abercrombie for Jon (yeah, I know), or maybe Theon. And so forth.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


dogheart, MeMailed.
posted by mephron at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013


Maybe Gaiman should finish them.

And have the saga end with Amanda Palmer on the Iron Throne? I think not.
posted by R. Schlock at 12:31 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


After reading the Acacia series and now watching the TV version of ASOIAF, I think Durham might actually have written better Essos-side chapters than Martin did. Or at least with less excessive posturing. I kind of want to do an edit of the HBO series where the Daenarys scenes are just Khal Drogo glaring at people silently for five minutes.
posted by selfnoise at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean, I know to a degree you are posting in general snark and trying to make a light joke on the subject.

I'm not, actually. I think an anticonfluentialist ending to the series is the right one. I just know the only way the fanbase will ever accept that as an ending is if GRRM actually dies before "finishing" the series. Not snarking.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2013


You Can't Tip a Buick: "anticonfluentialist ending"

Does "anticonfluentialist" mean Lost- and BSG-style "oh you're smart enough to work it out for yourself"? Because that would truly fucking suck.
posted by vanar sena at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


daq, I'm a huge fan of ASOIAF, and I don't think GRRM owes me anything. I am happy with the series as written, even if I never get all the answers. That said ...
That's the rude way of saying it, but it is specifically pointed towards people who _do_ complain about a creator, as if just by reading and enjoying a work, they are entitled to FORCE the author to bend to their will and perform as their dancing monkey for their entertainment. This is not how it works, and as a hopefully competent adult, you should know this.
... then from later in the same comment ...
... more people can read and evaluate and criticize and mock and help those creators hone their writing and story-telling into better and better content.
This is quite an inconsistent position you've staked out here, I think. It is a valid criticism to say, "this is only half a story, where is the other half?" The complaint of GRRMblers isn't that they want more stuff, but rather they want completeness. I think this is a different thing from fans who just want their favorite authors to write more stories with the same characters, and you should acknowledge that difference.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013


>> The mysteries I'm interested about aren't, like, "who's Jon Snow's mom," it's stuff like why has this weird planet (or is it a planet?) been stuck in a quasi-medieval pattern for (by all accounts) an amount of time vastly longer than the span of recorded human history on Earth

> Thats exactly what I'm saying. That is what should be in the main series. Not chaper after chapter of what types of shellfish prostitutes like to eat.


Well and so but anyway, I'd argue that that writing a society as lived by humans, actually writing it, instead of an abstract and unrealistic version of it, requires heaps and heaps and heaps of thick description of little tiny details of lived experience, all mixed up together, because if you try to jump to some sort of god's-eye view of societal processes in the abstract, you end up losing sight of not just the humans, but also the processes themselves.

That was one of the things I liked about the fourth book, actually (well, up to that stupid "meanwhile, back at the wall..." note). Up until the end of the third book, most of the thickly described characters are highborn and come from backgrounds fairly conventionally close to the center of Westerosi power. In the fourth book, we get to see a more diverse range of perspectives.

though if I have a quibble with the structure of the series on the whole, it's that even in the fourth book there's too much attention paid to the highborn.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2013


Does "anticonfluentialist" mean Lost- and BSG-style "oh you're smart enough to work it out for yourself"? Because that would truly fucking suck.

I think it refers to the general understanding that GRRM gets his jollies by ambushing his readers and frustrating their expectations, and frustrating their expectation of completion could be the cherry on his IDGAF sundae. Like, not only do you not get a happy ending, you don't get an ending. A whimper, not a bang.

That would really suck, in my opinion. And I think it's a perhaps a little too cynical. If nothing else, I think GRRM has a certain sense of self-importance at this point (arguably justified, if unseemly) and I do think he wants to eventually complete it as a magnum opus. Like a lot of people, I suspect he's not quite sure how at this point, and he's in no particular hurry, and if in the end it doesn't happen, oh well.

And that is his perfect right. If frustrating.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:52 PM on July 19, 2013


So this is a sick thread to post spoilers for Infinite Jest in, given that it's a thread about a completely different epic doorstop, but here goes:

The opening scene of IJ is set a year after the scene that comes after it. Over the course of the rest of the text, we get closer and closer to that first scene, watching the book's two main characters come closer and closer to finally meeting... but the book stops before they meet, about three months before the opening scene, with no explicit description of what happens in those intervening three months.

There's nerds on the internet who've worked out in painstaking detail what events must have occurred, but really, the book's less about solving the puzzle and more about how things (things in the book, and things in the world) ultimately don't come together in any way that's necessarily satisfying for humans.

Anticonfluentialism!

Lost and BSG, on the other hand, well.... they didn't not-come-together for thematic reasons, they just sorta... sucked at the end.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


So it's like the opposite of Use of Weapons?
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:02 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sadly, I've barely read any Banks (just Excession). He's on my list, once I finish the fifth book of ASOIAF and once life stops making me actually do things other than reading.

Stupid life! Stop dragging me away from books!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:04 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure you'll get around to it. It's a good book, pick a comfy chair.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was one of the things I liked about the fourth book, actually (well, up to that stupid "meanwhile, back at the wall..." note). Up until the end of the third book, most of the thickly described characters are highborn and come from backgrounds fairly conventionally close to the center of Westerosi power. In the fourth book, we get to see a more diverse range of perspectives.

Ok, I see your point.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:20 PM on July 19, 2013


me & my monkey,
"This is quite an inconsistent position you've staked out here, I think."

I disagree. The first position is that "fans" (remember, it is shorthand for 'fanatics') are attempting to bully their chosen creator into producing more content. This tends to not work out well for either party, as a rushed product ends up being, well, rushed. It can and does ruin many works.

The second position is a separate entity. When you are "reading and evaluating and criticize and mocking", it is often described as constructive criticism. Simply stating "where is the rest?" is not a criticism. It is a demand. It has no value other than as a child screaming "give me what I want now now now". It is a temper tantrum and without a completed thought or depth. It makes me want to slap a grown adult with a rolled up newspaper and say 'No'.


"The complaint of GRRMblers isn't that they want more stuff, but rather they want completeness."

This is still trying to impose the will of the "fan" on the creator of the work, which is why I am all for people writing their own stories (fanfic or even authorized spin-offs), instead of insisting that the originator be required to satisfy an unhealthy obsession with "completeness".

Life is not complete. Good art reflects life. Sure, you might want to categorize fantasy works as escapism and blah blah blah, but it is still literature, and given all the twists and turns of GRRM's works, they do stand apart as something different in the escapist genre. They have depth and cast into question the value of your completeness. The Red Wedding? Where is your completeness now? He has killed off more potential story arches in one chapter, you must know by now that you are not reading something that is going to have the protaganist following the simplistic fairytale trope of "the good guy wins in the end and gets to live happily ever after".

And this seems to be what the fans want. They want everything all tied up in a neat and tidy bow with the bad guys getting their comeupence, and the good guys (are there really any 'good' characters in ASOIAF?) to win in the end.

If you're read any of the Wild Cards series, you should probably be aware that GRRM does not like giving characters what the fans think they deserve. Remember Golden Boy? Yeah, his life turned out so great, didn't it? What about Captain Trips? Melody? Yeoman? Chrysallis?

I mean, at this point I'm getting too detailed and specific about GRRM, but I think my point still stands as two distinct ideas, and what you see as contradiction, is simply divergent ideas in the same whole. This is not a zero sum game. The ideas are not on opposite ends of a 2 dimensional spectrum. They exist (as all things in life) in a 3 dimensional (and sometimes 4, if you count the passage of time) world, where applied forces never have exact opposite reactions, as they are free to move in more than 2 directions.

posted by daq at 1:27 PM on July 19, 2013


I think I read in an interview somewhere that GRRM knows the overall ending of GoT and has told the producers of the television series so that they have something to work towards in case he gets a visit from The Stranger before he manages to complete it. (and that it's 'bitter-sweet')
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:28 PM on July 19, 2013


I would in fact actually recommend Sandkings (GRRM's hugo/nebula winning novella from the 1970s) to people who want a version of ASOIAF that
  1. wraps up, and
  2. doesn't take a year and a day to read.
In it, he explores a lot of the same concepts, but whereas ASOIAF explores how those themes play out in an implausibly large universe*, in Sandkings we get to see them play out in a large terrarium.

I mean this absolutely literally.

FWIW, I had less than no interest in Game of Thrones/ASOIAF until I found out that Sandkings was written by the same guy.

*: Conceptually, in terms of number of characters we have to keep track of, but also literally; Westeros is too big. At one point a character describes Dorne as being ten thousand leagues from the Wall. The Wall is in the far north. If Westeros is on a spherical planet that has an equator, Dorne is north of that equator. A league is a bit over three miles, and there's scenes where characters convert from leagues to miles, saying things like "[place x] is less than a league from here, maybe two miles," so it's not like GRRM doesn't know how big a league is.

One of the main reasons why I'm so anxious to finish the fifth book and get caught up with the rest of the world is so I can finally go googling around for theories about what's up with scale in Westeros.

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:46 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, you might want to categorize fantasy works as escapism and blah blah blah, but it is still literature
Yes, I agree that it's literature. But that doesn't get it off the hook - if we're going to call it literature, it should at least have a coherent story. It doesn't, yet.
And this seems to be what the fans want. They want everything all tied up in a neat and tidy bow with the bad guys getting their comeupence, and the good guys (are there really any 'good' characters in ASOIAF?) to win in the end.
No, I don't think it is what the fans want. You can't read the first five books and reasonably have that expectation. I think the average ASOIAF reader expects that no one will win in the end. But the simple fact is, either there's an overarching story or there isn't, and that story has not yet been delivered. We're not just talking about loose ends here and there, we simply don't have any real understanding of the world in which the characters live yet. The Others, for example, have been in a handful of pages, but they're obviously a very important factor in the underlying story - so important that the prologue of the very first book focused on them.

If I grabbed a book off my shelf at random, tore it in two, and gave you the first half, I expect you'd find reading that unsatisfactory even if it is written well. How is this any different?
posted by me & my monkey at 2:08 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


That comment by You Can't Tip a Buick is the first thing I've ever read or been told that has made me want to actually read A Song of Fire and Ice. The way it's been sold to me before was that it was basically fantasy with more death and incest, which isn't something that particularly appeals to me. Fantasy that deals with the effects of sociohistorical forces on a wide range of individuals, now that sounds interesting to me.

Don't get sucked in, it's a trick. The first book makes you think that he has something bigger to say, but as characters get added and deleted and story arcs get bigger you realize he is just dragging every lazy trope and meme into his soap-opera writing matrix: knights and ladies, dragons, zombies, ninjas, wizard school, the mystical orient, funny italians, passionate arabs... etc. He could keep on writing forever just like the young and restless will always be young and restless. That said, I'll download the pirated epub of the next one when it hits the internet because I need something to distract me from the pile of bills I'm afraid of, and they are thick books.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:13 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


When you capture imaginations, you should be respectful of that captivity.
posted by anifinder at 2:25 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the question for me isn't whether readers should or should not suggest that writers finish what they've started. For me, the underlying question is why GRRM, or Gaiman, or whoever, should be responding to fandom on this level at all. Fandom is stupid. I mean, it's silly fun too, but sci-fi/fantasy fandom is just chock full of the absolute last people in the world I'd go to for advice on how to write a book that doesn't suck. Anyone who thinks that the best way to interact with ASOIAF is by putting house stark or house lannister or whatever stickers on their cars is missing the point.

well, I hope they're missing the point.

okay i admit it whenever i play civilization i name my first city 'casterly rock' fine you dragged it out of me.

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:33 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the question for me isn't whether readers should or should not suggest that writers finish what they've started. For me, the underlying question is why GRRM, or Gaiman, or whoever, should be responding to fandom on this level at all. Fandom is stupid.

Actually, the books are stupid. The only hope for meaning is if fandom manages to recontextualize somethin out of wooden writing and mechanical plots.

Star Wars really is a movie made for kids by someone who doesn't expect a lot from children. It only achieves something artistically by the great imagination of its fans.

Help me fandom, you're my only hope.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:46 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


or, P K Dick died for the sins of the genre author.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:48 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I write for a fanfic group, and we all nodded at the 'is not your bitch' thing when it came out. We have our own fans, and they get crazily entitled, wondering when will the newest story in our melded-media universe come out, why is this late, have you guys just given up, hey the last story was shit, why should we join the forums to read the small stories you guys post there (forums are world-readable, you just need to sign up to comment).

Heh, I know a lot of people that absolutely refuse to read any WIPs precisely because they know they'll get frustrated. Though then there's people that don't label their fics as WIP and you don't find out until after like 150k words...
posted by kmz at 2:49 PM on July 19, 2013


Turns out they were dead all along.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on July 19, 2013


I love everything about this.

But they couldn't figure a way to work Jonathan Coulton, Wil Wheaton, and Felicia Day in there? We're not at peak nerd yet.
posted by bibliowench at 3:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once figured out that George RR Martin and I write at more or less the same pace, in terms of total words of novel published, and no one ever seriously accuses me of being slow with the product. The only difference between the two of us is that he puts those same number of words into fewer novels.

In any event, everyone using this thread as another chance to reheat their grievances re: GRRM's writing pace should be aware he's going to write at the pace he wants to write and you're going to get what you get when he decides to give it to you, and nothing you can do will ever change that, no matter how much you fume and snap. You should probably just accept it and read other things in the interim. Rumor is there is a lot of generally excellent epic fantasy out there these days.

As a bit of context for the video, it was taken last night at w00tstock 5.0, in San Diego; it was the opening number for the whole show. The drummer is Jason Finn (of Presidents of the United States) who has been the w00tstock house drummer for a number of years now. The video itself was recorded by Veronica Belmont. It's a pretty groovy way to open a concert, in my opinion.

Also, of course, I think it's delightful (although not terribly surprising) that George has a sense of humor about the song, inasmuch it was written to satirize the folks who get so damn spun up about GRRM's writing speed.
posted by jscalzi at 3:53 PM on July 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Gaiman finishing the series would be something intriguing

Or MetaFilter's Own John "R.R. (stands for Redshirts twice)" Scalzi...
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:11 PM on July 19, 2013


I would in fact actually recommend Sandkings (GRRM's hugo/nebula winning novella from the 1970s) to people who want a version of ASOIAF that
1. wraps up, and
2. doesn't take a year and a day to read.
In it, he explores a lot of the same concepts, but whereas ASOIAF explores how those themes play out in an implausibly large universe*, in Sandkings we get to see them play out in a large terrarium.

I mean this absolutely literally.


I can't second You Can't Tip a Buick's recommendation to read Sandkings as a key to ASIF strongly enough.

Please pardon me for this, but here's what I wrote about the relationship between Sandkings and ASIF here at MetaFilter back in 2009:
I'd say Sandkings has deep and very strange resonances with A Song of Ice and Fire.

The envelope of the story, with the omnipotent owner of the sandkings manipulating the helpless and fundamentally innocent creatures he has enslaved in his lurid terrarium, is almost a perfect parable of an author of such genius as Martin's peering into the red-lit depths of his own unconscious and putting the denizens he finds there through all the vicissitudes his imagination can devise. The castles of the sandkings are transposed into that world almost whole, and the attack on the ASIF world by the ice beings is very like the vicious creatures Kress tossed into the terrarium to see what the sandkings would do, even down to the parallel between the coming of winter in ASIF and the way Kress changes the climate controls of the terrarium. The ceaseless warring of the sandkings, exacerbated past the point of insanity by the depraved cruelty of the psychopathic Kress, mirrors the battles of the humans in ASIF, and gives a savage mordancy to the criticisms made of Martin over the almost sadistic monstrosity of ASIF.

It's telling that the faces of Kress carved into the walls of the sandking's castles show such profound degeneration of character as time progresses, just as the pitch of violence in ASIF has risen to a scream as that story has progressed, whatever that may say about the character of Martin himself.

At the end of Sandkings, when the creatures have escaped entirely from Kress' control and he is in fact at their mercy, the sandkings all have his face.

No wonder Martin is blocked and cannot seem to finish A Song of Ice and Fire and set it free in the world; perhaps he is not able to come to terms with the prospect of looking into to his own completed work because of the danger of seeing there things about himself he does not want to know-- that he does not want anyone to know.
I'd add that if you want a sense of the probable fate of your favorite female ASIF character, just look at what happens to the female characters in Sandkings.

And you might ask yourself for reasons why a story written around hive entities in which the queen bee like creature who gives rise to the workers is referred to as a "maw" would be called Sandkings other than as an attempt to cover the tracks of an essential misogyny.
posted by jamjam at 4:20 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Game of Thrones: In Memoriam (Comic-Con)
posted by homunculus at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2013


Heal your Game of Thrones anguish with these plush Direwolf puppies
posted by homunculus at 5:48 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aww, the complaints about ASoIaF taking so long to wrap up are so cute.
posted by xedrik at 8:30 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why would an established writer who has or his or her own stories to write even bother taking on continuing the work of another author (apart from the obvious answer of money and marketing)? Have any of the authors mentioned in this thread done anything like this at all?

One of the most abhorrent series of books produced after the death of an author is the Dune series, taken up by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, apparently from notes left by Frank Herbert. I've read a fair amount of Frank Herbert's non Dune novels and some of them were spectacularly poorly written with a weak narrative, but Dune is very well written with a strong narrative and a compelling universe (though your mileage of course may vary). The pre and post Dune novels that followed after his death are beyond terrible. Had a decent writer or writers taken it up perhaps we could have gotten something at least good but it didn't happen. I'm curious, if it has ever happened? I would liken these Dune books to Game of Death, where 20 or so minutes of actual Bruce Lee footage was interwoven hilariously and painfully with a body double to create film to cash in on the fame of Lee and frankly, Lee's films were not that great to begin with so this was doubly horrible.

I suspect the same would happen with Martin's work as well.

In a strange way, that an adaptation of his work exists as a television series may give the series the best possible writing it could, should Martin pass away before concluding the series. Television has long been a more collaborative environment for writers and there are some remarkably good television writers at the moment.

If you're read any of the Wild Cards series, you should probably be aware that GRRM does not like giving characters what the fans think they deserve.

Conversely if you read Tuf Voyaging (basically an anthology of the Haviland Tuf short stories) you would most definitely get the impression that GRRM loves, even enjoys, giving characters what fans might think they deserve.
posted by juiceCake at 10:30 PM on July 19, 2013


Turns out they were dead in the shower all along.
posted by arcticseal at 11:45 PM on July 19, 2013


Perhaps it's a lack of formal education, but I have no especial appreciation for art, artists...or artistes. As it relates to book series', unless your, "art" is a purely masturbatory exercise...one from which you don't profit...you have a responsibility to provide that for which you're paid insofar as a significant proportion of the public would not choose to buy and read an incomplete series of books. In other words, the author has an unspoken contractual agreement with those who've purchased his books thus far to finish the series.
posted by Nibiru at 4:06 AM on July 20, 2013


Nibiru:

"In other words, the author has an unspoken contractual agreement with those who've purchased his books thus far to finish the series."

No, that's entirely wrong. The author has an explicit contractual agreement with the publisher. Which, incidentally, does not guarantee a series will complete either -- a publisher may drop a series in the middle if it doesn't sell well, or may go into bankruptcy, locking up the rights to the series in court, or decide to part ways with the author for reasons other than sales. In which case, that's all you get.

Other than the actual legal contract, however, you get what you get. If George decided to say "fuck it," and not write another single word about Westeros, you would find what your "unspoken contractual agreement" is worth.

I once started a second book in a series which I never completed because the book I was writing wasn't up to my standards and I didn't want it out there. My "unspoken contractual agreement" with my readers is not to crap out work I think is substandard just because someone wants another installment.
posted by jscalzi at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nibiru, that's nonsense. I like complaining about GRRM as much as the next person, (far more if the next person happens to be daq) but it's ridiculous to say that a reader who knowingly starts reading an unfinished series is contractually owed something they haven't even purchased yet.

Although I will admit to having been made unreasonably, incandescently angry upon reaching the "end" of Jonathan Coe's The Rotters Club. Ending what was marketed and sold as a standalone novel with a big cliffhanger and an author's note promising to resolve the mystery in an as yet unwritten sequel isn't playing fair by your readership. Unmarked WIPs are bad enough when they're from fanfic authors like kmz describes. I expected better from bloody Penguin!
posted by the latin mouse at 10:27 AM on July 20, 2013


Comic-Con Day Two Recap: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Walking Dead,' 'Veronica Mars'. Panel offers some closure for 'Red Wedding' mourners and 'Walking Dead' reveals Season Four details
posted by homunculus at 10:55 AM on July 20, 2013


In other words, the author has an unspoken contractual agreement with those who've purchased his books thus far to finish the series.

Completely disagree. The author has to take care of his or herself and theirs first. Their life cannot and should not be held to fans of previous work.
posted by juiceCake at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2013


There is no contract in either direction-- just as authors are under no obligation to continue writing their series at any particular pace or at all, there is no obligation for readers to purchase books in an incomplete series, or from an author with a reputation for not finishing what they started.
posted by Pyry at 1:22 PM on July 20, 2013


Earlier today.
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love this, though yes, it's missing a few nerds. (Age of the geek, baby.) But I did expect GRRM to stomp out and yell, "I'M WORKING ON IT!!!!!"

Neil Gaiman coming out, however, was just perfect.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:27 PM on July 20, 2013


No One Spoil Game of Thrones for Peter Dinklage
posted by homunculus at 8:30 PM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indira Varma Cast For Game Of Thrones Season 4
posted by homunculus at 2:24 PM on July 25, 2013


The Only Book You Really Need: The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister
posted by homunculus at 3:48 PM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


HBO Should Show Dongs (possibly nsfw).
posted by homunculus at 6:08 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could be wrong in this, but haven't they already shown us some dongs?
posted by Artw at 6:41 PM on August 14, 2013


HODOR!
(Yes)
HODOR!
(Hodor's)
posted by Mezentian at 3:35 AM on August 17, 2013


Q&A: Lena Headey
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:19 AM on August 17, 2013


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Fuck", "titbag", "awesome".


I think I may be in love.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Get in line.
posted by homunculus at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watch A Whole Scene of Lena Headey Battling Demonic Home Invaders With A Frying Pan (possible spoilers).
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on August 17, 2013


Sansa adopts her Direwolf.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


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